Sennheiser: A world in transition

Businesses and higher education institutions worldwide currently find themselves navigating through unprecedented times. As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, organisations are attempting to resume operations in the new normal.

More and more companies adopt a hybrid working model, alternating portions of staff for office-based and remote work on different days. But for hybrid meetings to work, right meeting tools are needed.

In the current climate, touchless audio, BYOD and technologies that enable cooperation and communication between remote parties are on the rise. Sennheiser supports companies and institutions with audio solutions that are IT-friendly, simple to use and install, and directly correspond with the new kinds of workflows and Covid safety requirements.

This convergence of AV and IT was happening long before the pandemic, but now it is really being put to the test.

Sennheiser TeamConnect Ceiling meeting room
Corporations and educational establishments are all up for IT-friendly, touchless audio
With hygiene and social distancing being priorities for all organizations preparing to reopen, AV professionals are faced with an unprecedented challenge on how to bring seamless virtual collaboration experiences in a reliable, hygienic and safe manner. Meeting rooms and auditoriums have always been considered close-contact and high-touch environments where equipment like microphones are passed from one person to the other. With Covid-19, things have changed: ‘touchless audio’ is on the rise.

One solution that directly supports the touchless audio trend is beamforming microphone array technology, found in Sennheiser’s TeamConnect Ceiling 2 (TCC2), which in the corporate field allows for the safe social distancing between meeting participants, and enables a seamless meeting experience for remote participants. In educational contexts, TCC 2 has proven to be an indispensable tool in distance learning, when seminars can be conducted with on-site and remote students at the same time, thus also opening up new revenue streams for higher-education facilities.

Unique on the market, Sennheiser’s adaptive beamforming technology automatically captures the active speaker’s voice, letting people speak naturally – whether they are sitting, standing or moving around the room. It is ready to use without complex configuration, and there is no need to ‘pass the mic.’

Sennheiser MobileConnect

What’s more, TCC2 is compatible with leading video collaboration platforms such as Zoom Meetings and is also certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms when deployed with Microsoft-certified DSPs. Both platforms have become market leaders in the video collaboration space and, with cutting-edge features, TCC2 brings significantly better audio performance to these solutions.

Businesses with existing Q-SYS Ecosystems can use a plugin to easily configure
and manage TCC2, including monitoring audio levels and viewing the vertical and horizontal angle of the detected person speaking in real-time. Similarly, full compatibility
with Crestron’s control system platform enables remote access to the ceiling microphone’s audio parameters, mute and customisable LED control. Also, TTC 2 supports Dante Domain Manager.

A universal tool for education and business environments
System set-up and trouble-free AV workflows are best achieved by using the free Sennheiser Control Cockpit software.

This offers administrators in corporate and campus settings a convenient overview of multiple microphones from one location, with remote trouble-shooting limiting physical contact with hardware and mitigating health risks.

Sennheiser SpeechLine Digital Wireless

For example, when using a wireless microphone system such as SpeechLine Digital Wireless, battery management becomes a breeze for IT staff with Sennheiser Control Cockpit, the software allowing them to filter for low batteries or to activate push messages to their (mobile) devices. Additionally, it is possible to identify potential issues that an end user may encounter, enabling IT staff to remotely check the operating status of each microphone on the campus or in a company.

Multi-channel receiver that sets the standard for network-enabled AV equipment
These days, large AV set-ups of corporate and higher education environments are often looked after by small IT teams that need to take care of many rooms and even more microphones that are spread over large campuses. To make their job easier, Sennheiser has expanded its offer of network-enabled AV equipment by introducing the SpeechLine Multi-Channel Receiver.

The solution adds a compact, IT-friendly receiver with maximum connectivity and easy control to the SpeechLine Digital Wireless series. Using license-free 1.9 GHz technology, the receiver can be centrally software controlled through Sennheiser Control Cockpit, ensuring seamless workflows.

With SpeechLine Digital Wireless, an infinite number of microphone links can be implemented at a university or a corporate campus.

Embracing BYOD as part of touchless audio
Another way to enable touchless audio is via mobile apps that allow people to use their own devices. An example of this is MobileConnect, Sennheiser’s assistive listening solution for higher education that embraces a bring-your-own-device trend.

This streaming solution offers students an individual assistive listening capability through the convenience of their own smartphone. There is no need to borrow a special receiver or sit in a designated area – the hearing-impaired students can choose their seat wherever they like in the lecture hall.

There are also many advantages for the operators of the system since MobileConnect uses the university’s Wi-Fi network and can be quickly integrated and centrally controlled, thus significantly lowering operating costs – that also applies, of course, to applications outside the educational field.

Good enough is not good enough
Whilst audio has often been an afterthought in the complex AV installs in the pre-COVID world, the pandemic has pushed corporations and educational establishments into an unprecedented and unplanned experiment in remote and hybrid working. This means that audio can no longer be just a postscript, and both AV and IT professionals have come to embrace innovations and new technologies to ensure their organizations can benefit from high-quality, touchless audio solutions.

Professors must be dynamic in their presentation of curriculum material to truly captivate students and create meaningful learning experiences. Business leaders must be able to engage their team and generate leads and close sales remotely. This requires personal dynamism, but also the technology that can capture live audio at the highest quality.

Now more than ever, good-quality audio can make or break the end user’s overall experience.

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